2011 World Superbike Preview: Assen

assen_circuitRound three of the 2011 World Superbike season will kick of this weekend at the Assen Circuit. Carlos Checa currently leads the series ahead of Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam.

Due to his performance at the opening two rounds of the 2011 racing season, Carlos Checa has proven himself to be the man to beat. Checa has won three of the four races so far, and the race he did not win, he still managed to climb onto the podium.

Checa may be the favorite heading into Assen, but there are plenty of riders who could take the win this weekend.

Marco Melandri is the only other rider to score a win so far this season. Melandri has only missed the podium once this season, and he’ll be racing at one of his favorite tracks this weekend. Melandri scored two podiums in the MotoGP while racing at Assen, and a win in the 250cc class. But the Yamaha rider will have to compete with a few Ducati bikes, knowing that the Italian manufacturer has an astounding record at the Dutch circuit.

One of those Ducati riders who will be looking to add to the company’s 23 wins at Assen will be Max Biaggi. Biaggi is one of the best riders on the track, but currently sits in fourth place after a DNF at Donington Park.

The third place rider in the series is Leon Haslam. Haslam is the lead BMW in the series, and has consistently been a threat to the podium this season. Despite his solid performance, Haslam is currently 38 points behind the leader. Haslam, Biaggi, and Melandri will have some work cut out for them if they want to slow down a speedy Checa.

The World Superbike race at Assen will also see the return of Chris Vermeulen. The Paul Bird Motorsports team will be at full force this weekend with three Kawasaki riders lining up on the grid. The Kawasaki team hasn’t seen the podium yet, but Vermeulen, Tom Sykes, and Joan Lascorz all have what it takes to challenge at the front.

Jonathan Rea should also be a solid contender this weekend. Rea has yet to find the podium this season, but he’ll be heading to a track where he knows he can win. Rea took home a double victory last year at the Dutch circuit, and will be looking for similar results in 2011.

World Superbike Standings

  1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 91
  2. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 72
  3. Leon Haslam (BMW) 53
  4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 49
  5. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 42
  6. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 38
  7. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 37
  8. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 27
  9. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 26
  10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 19

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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